WUCC 2014 Mixed Division Preview: Royal Goaltimate Society

Mixed, news, Previews, RGS, WUCC Previews, WUCC2014
Matt Dathan and Matthew Hodgson take a look into Royal Goaltimate Society and their road to WUCC 2014 in the Mixed division.

Luke T of RGS brings down a wayward disc at Golden Keg last month. Photo courtesy of the Golden Keg crew.



Squad

Alizé Clough
Amie Channon
Cat Tobiasiewicz
Chris Whittle
Chrissy Birtwistle (C)
Colin Green
David Ford
Fred Shone
Iain McConachie
James Jagger
Jonny Clark (C)
Julia Jaensch
Katrina Ford
Philipa Sturt
Richard Macleod
Romanie Hannah
Ruby Rennison
Sam Green
Steph Gillick
Tim Sanders
Luke Tobiasiewicz
Will Smith
Willis Bruckermann
Zack Dorner

About R.G.S.
For much of the season R.G.S have resembled more of a dating agency than  an ultimate team, but finally they’re starting to hit it off on the pitch as well as off. The team was seen by some – perhaps unfairly – as the laughing stock of the UK teams going to Worlds due to dropping as low as 9th in the mixed division. But the facts fail to tell the full story.

Only a handful of the players going to Lecco this summer played for the R.G.S that qualified for World’s by winning mixed tour last year, which explains why the team struggled to gel in the opening months of the season. The wind and rain of Nottingham and Cheltenham at Mixed Tours 2 and 3 did not help a team trying to gel as a team and develop a new offence, but, as 
Jonny Clark one of the two captains said, it certainly created the all-important team spirit and graft that often takes time for a new team. 

“Those early tournaments were particularly frustrating, but we learned to fight as a team and rely on the weapons we have to grind out games,” he told The ShowGame. 


They are running offensive looks out of vertical, horizontal (listen out for their ‘hozzers for blozzers’ call) and split stacks as well as deploying multiple zones and man defensive plays. With a new squad and players based as far away as Canada and Dubai, all of these challenges contributed to the time that it took this team to come together. 

However the mixed season was only the beginning of their preparations and they have since gone on to impress in foreign tournaments. If their run of recent form is anything to go by then they should be on course to get some wins at Worlds. 


At Windmill Windup in Amsterdam, their only defeats came against the French national team, eventual winners Bear Cavalry and Heidees, the German mixed team, who they later beat in their final game of the tournament to secure an impressive fifth place finish, a position which certainly made those early critics of R.G.S look a bit silly. 
They also beat a host of other European mixed teams going to WUCC, including the Dutch team UFO and Bon Disc’Manche from France.

Last month they travelled to Golden Keg in Dublin, where they beat 
Grandmaster Flash from Poland and narrowly lost to the winners, Cambridge. 

Coaching and Playing Style

R.G.S – or the Royal Goaltimate Society to give their full name – were the only mixed team going to Worlds that held open trials, due to the exodus of Clapham and Iceni players who chose to play in the open and women’s division instead. 

With the help of coaching from Jaimie Cross, an experienced veteran of managing new teams, Jonny and fellow captain Chrissie Birtwistle ran try-outs over the winter that triallists said had a professional feel to them, held under the roof of the state-of-the-art Soccerdome centre in Greenwich. 


Players to Watch

Along with a handful of existing players from the previous year, they managed to secure some very talented players who were unattached to other WUCC squads, including Amie Channon and Ruby Rennison from SYC and Iain ‘Con’ McConachie, an ex-Clapham and Fusion player who has returned to Frisbee after a few years in the wilderness. 

Their star players so far this season have been Richard ‘Macca’ Macleod and Kate Ford. “Underestimate Macca at your peril,” was a warning shot one R.G.S aimed at their WUCC opponents.


Predictions

According to R.G.S players Tim Sanders and Kate Rae, the season changed when the team started going to the pub together after trainings and summer league, and the team’s best performance of the season came after their biggest night out as a team. It was the same night as four of the girls reportedly got lucky after wearing identical Get Horizontal t-shirts (from where the ‘hozzers for blozzers’ play was born), so it is unlikely that either a socialising or a drinking ban will be imposed on the players in Lecco. 

It’s a squad finally bearing the fruits of an intense, sometimes frustrating but hard-working build-up to WUCC. “We’re just going to take it a point and game at a time,” Jonny says, preferring not to set a firm target of where they hope to finish. 


“We’ve got a really great pool lined up with Fire of Anatolia, UKU! And Polar Bears so our first aim will be pushing for the top half of the draw. More than anything we’re looking forward to getting our whole squad together and seeing what we can bring to the first round of games.”


The last piece of the jigsaw will be Colin and Sam Green joining the team from Canada. Each have made cameo appearances throughout the season and Jonny hopes the excitement they bring to the team will give them the vital boost to push R.G.S up into the top echelons of the competition.


Their record on the international stage is far better than the domestic scene. As their performances at Windmill and Golden Keg showed, the hotter climates of Lecco and the absence of home media scrutiny will benefit their style of play and mental state and they are increasingly looking like a team that could impress and punch above the weight of a team seeded 27th at WUCC.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Rennison. 
That’s two down, two to go! But first some more discussion…

Mixed Tour 2 Review

Bear Cavalry, mixed tour, news, RGS, Shiny Happy Meeples, Thundering Herd, Tournament Reports
Matthew “Smatt” Hodgson gives us his perspective of Mixed Tour 2.

From start to finish the wind the typical Nottingham wind meant every point at Mixed Tour 2 was hard fought against the elements as well as the opponents, with very few games making it to the hard cap even amongst the teams at the top of the standings

Dominating Bagel news was Flux, who left it until their 3rdgame to get on the scoreboard before taking a dominating win of their own; 10-3 against Sheffield Steal 2. ABH B also took a 9-0 win over Bournemouth Heat, but once the pool stage was over the rankings worked themselves out with all teams getting points on the board.

ABH vs Pier Pressure at Mixed Tour 2. Photo courtesy of Graham Bailey.




The three teams finishing on the podium were Bear Cavalry, Cambridge and Brighton who all started in Pool A. Bear Cavalry and Cambridge proved themselves as the top two teams on tour this year with the Bears winning against everyone in the group once, and then repeating their wins against Brighton Breezy in the Semi Final and then putting on another show in the final against Cambridge in which Cult would not score an upwind goal and would only put in 1 point after the half. The final finished 13-6 and the Bears ground out their win with tireless effort on defence and the ability to generate yardage against the wind with powerful hucks hitting well timed deep cuts in stride. The first point was Bear Cavalry starting on offence and it was scored in less than 5 passes in the same upwind conditions that consistently howled throughout the weekend.

In pool B on the other side of the top 8, we saw teams falling down the rankings. Second seed Thundering Herd 1 started strong again, winning their group for the second tour in a row before their quarter final against Meeple, who had been energised by some big pickups. Meeple were able to dispatch BAF to enter the top 8 for the first time this season before making plenty of big plays and letting everyone know about them during their quarter final in which they deflated the Herd and broke the Top 4 for the first time. BAM ended up doing really well in the group, taking down RGS and Bristol to secure top 8 before losing out the rest of the way to teams on the ascendancy; Brighton Breezy in the quarter (who climbed from 5th to 3rd), Black Eagles in the 5 v 8 (who climbed from 9th to 5th) and Peeps in the 7 v 8 (who climbed from 13th to 7th). Each of the teams beating BAM down the stretch are interesting propositions for MT3. Brighton Breezy, as mentioned earlier, battled out of a tough Pool A before securing a 3rd place finish with a very similar squad to the one they had at Tour 1, whilst Black Eagles and Peeps both added only one or two big playmakers and took down some big names in the crossovers to secure spots in the Top 8 (Bristol and RGS respectively). These teams should definitely feel good about their chances at the third and final event in Cheltenham.


Other big movers this weekend were ABH A and Pingu Jam. ABH A started slow, beating Deep Drillin’ and Brighton Early by only 2 points each in their group, before beating Brighton Pier Pressure to set up a semi against Pingu Jam. PJ’s offence at times seemed to be exclusively huck and hope/play defence based, but they managed to ride this strategy to a win over ABH A and ultimately an undefeated weekend and a climb from 19th to 13th. ABH A would finish the tour with another win, making it 5 from 6 and a climb from 23rd to 15th.


There was also a battle for second team supremacy in Nottingham. This has been a spot usually held by Thundering Herd 2, but at MT2 it was Brighton Pier Pressure (who I don’t think are technically a second team) who came out on top finishing 17th, followed up by Cambridge 2 in 18thand Herd 2 in 19th who managed to hold off th
e challenge of Jabba the Huck (making their 2014 Mixed tour debut) in the 19 v 20.

Across the entire standings, the average number of places a team moved was 4.5 showing just how difficult seeding a 51 team tournament can be, even with one tournament’s results already in the books.

Cambridge only lost to the Bears all weekend and in their other games they were able to handle their business fairly easily, with their closest win finishing with a 9-6 score line against 3rd place finishers Brighton Breezy in the pool stage. Brighton fought hard all weekend and were able to deal with the conditions better than most, in typical Brighton fashion, by sending up and consequently bringing down big hucks into and with the wind.

RGS had another tough weekend. Having only seen short parts of a limited sample of their games at the 2 tours so far, it’s difficult to say why they haven’t been challenging the top spots so far, and if I were to guess, I’d put it down to unfamiliarity with their teammates. Whilst they still have plenty of time before Worlds (4 months, MT3 and Golden Keg), they will be have been hoping the cohesion would have come quicker than this. Another problem appears to be giving up breaks to easily, with their offence not seeming able to get the disc back after a turn (based on my viewing a limited sample of points at MT1/2).

There was also plenty of movement in the lower brackets: The Saints rose 7 places culminating in a final game victory take down of Shakedown (who dropped 9 places), Glasgow “2” and Flux both dropping 11 places each and Black Sheep 2 earning a a win to take them up from 51st to 50th

Nice write up and hopefully more Smatt vs Matt next time round!

UKU MT2 Preview:

Bear Cavalry, Cambridge, Mixed Ultimate, news, RGS, Smatt vs Matt, Thundering Herd

Can anyone topple Bear Cavalry?


Smatt: Whilst I have a bit of personal bias from playing for Bear Cavalry, Mixed Tour 1 was fairly straightforward for us. Our closest game in terms of the score was the semi final against Cambridge Black. I fully expect Cambridge to once again be our toughest opposition, especially as they are combining their teams. They had two strong teams at MT1 and had some good results. Black lost to Black Eagles in pool play and Bear Cavalry in the semi but would finish in 3rd place, and White only lost to Cambridge Black in the quarter, going undefeated on Sunday to finish in 5th. Of all the teams in attendance, I think Cambridge have the best shot to steal a result from the Bears.

Matt: Yes. Cambridge will unite to create a stronger team and as we saw in the semi, if half their team can take 11 off Bears then their whole team definitely stand a chance of winning.  If Bristol Mixed weren’t losing a lot of their Nice Bristols girls then they’d be a threat but I don’t think they’ll be able to compete this weekend. Thundering Herd will have confidence after their surprising final appearance but Bears have probably sussed out their main threats. RGS are still a new team and didn’t have a full training session last weekend so I can’t see them taking down Bears just yet.


Will RGS climb back into the top 4?

Smatt: With one tour under their belt, RGS have had some time to gel and work on connections. They will also have the 2014 debut of Richard ‘Macca’ Macleod to bolster their defence and generate some blocks and their Canadian Duo (Colin and Sam Green) to bring more firepower. I think they have the potential to climb into the top 4, but will face an uphill struggle to get there, winning their group will give them the best chance. 

Matt: Yes. But mainly because rival teams are missing key players. Speaking to some of the team after tour one I think they went into games too relaxed and more or less expecting to win but struggled with nerves when they ended up in close battles. So Cardiff will have been a healthy shock to the system for the team. Come world’s, after 5 tournaments together, they should be a match for Bears.


Will Nottingham actually have good weather for once?

Smatt: Weather forecasts look alright, definitely not “Nottingham bad”, but I’m not sure I trust Nottingham…

Matt: No, that’s why I’m not going.


Top 8 predictions?
Smatt: In alphabetical order; Bears, Black Eagles, Brighton Breezy, Bristol Mixed, Cambridge, RGS, Scarecrew, Thundering Herd. I’d guess top 4 would be Bears, Cambridge, Herd, RGS with the others being in the 5-8.

Matt: Bears, Cambridge, Brighton, RGS, Herd, Black Eagles, Dyn-O-Mixed, Bristol Mixed. 


Best game of Pool Play?

Smatt: Game 1 of Saturday looks to feature the some great matchups with Bear Cavalry vs Brighton and the rematch of the MT1 pool play decider between RGS and the Herd. However, the 1:30 slot features the one to watch in pool play: Bear Cavalry vs Cambridge (with the Herd vs Bristol MT1 semi final rematch also happening in this slot)!
Further down the rankings, Jabba the Huck vs Shiny Happy Meeple should prove interesting a tight, highly contested, match-up in the race for a crossover into the top 8. Reading vs Merseyside will be trying to do the same but in the top half of the 13-20 bracket.

Matt: RGS vs Cambridge.  


Upset predictions?

Smatt: I see RGS knocking out Bristol and the Herd to take their group and set themselves up with a more preferable quarter to make the top 4. Going on 2013 results this doesn’t look like an upset, but going on MT1 results I think it’s justified.

Matt: RGS to beat Herd, Brighton to reach semis, Dyn-O-Mixed to get top 8.

Who wins? You decide. 

Herd Mauled by Bears in Sunny Cardiff – Mixed Tour 1 Report

Bear Cavalry, Black Eagles, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow Ultimate, Mixed, Mixed Ultimate, Nice Bristols, RGS, Tournament Reports
Matt Dathan reports on Mixed Tour 1 in sun-soaked Cardiff

Bear Cavalry took Thundering Herd to the slaughter to draw first blood in this season’s mixed tour. 

On yet another sunny day on the fields of Cardiff, Herd went into the final still milking their fine 13-10 semi-final victory over Bristol, but their performance was less than legendairy. It all looked to be going well for the Londoners in the first half as they kept up with the Bears, trailing by just one point at half.

Theo Tizard (Bear Cavalry) gets high over the Herd.

Former Bears handler Cian Ó Móráin was a constant thorn in their side and was opening up too many breaks for their liking. But tactics maestro Dave Tyler put his thinking hat on at half time and pulled out a masterstroke to contain the Irish playmaker, stifling his leftie throws.

Pint-sized birthday-boy Adam Maxwell was symptomatic of Bear’s superior fitness as he linked their handlers and deeps; Herd seemed to run out of steam and failed to put a point on the scoreboard in the second half and Herd were given the hiding they deserved with the match ending 15-7.

As Tyler fought away John Terry to lift yet another mixed tour trophy, he realised he had no more room for silverware in his trophy cabinet and magnanimously offered debut boy Matt Hodgson the chance to start his own trophy collection.

It was much the same story on the adjoining pitch in the third-place play-off. Bristol had nothing more to give and were smashed by the better half of Cambridge. Bristol, who had a storming Saturday – beating Shiny Happy Meeple, Glasgow and Black Eagles in the quarters – went into Sunday not looking so Nice, perhaps distracted by their endeavour to sell raffle tickets.

Boasting a team packed full of World’s-bound Nice Bristols and Chevron players, they were unable to compete with a well-drilled Cambridge team who have already racked up more than a handful of training sessions in their preparation for the World Championships.

The semi-finals were a different story entirely; both games went to the wire – Thundering Herd traded it out to beat Bristol 13-10 while Bears beat Cambridge Black 14-11.  
Cambridge Black will be pleased with their top three finish considering they split their teams in two in a bid to improve tournament fitness. The White half, who lost to their Black team-mates in the quarter finals, finished fifth, beating Scarecrew in the 5/6 game.

The third mixed team heading for worlds – RGS – finished the weekend in 8th, narrowly losing the 7/8th game to Brighton Breezy. The boys and girls in pink and blue have only had a couple of trainings together since trials and with a team that is almost unrecognisable from the team that dominated mixed tour last year they will be looking to gel quickly.

But one player who remains from last year, captain Jonny Clark, led by example, making a number of flying blocks over the weekend, one of which was caught on camera and can be seen here, and will be hoping his team step it up for mixed tour two in Nottingham.
Fish dominated bagel news: they started the weekend on the receiving end by losing 15-0 to Sneekys on Saturday but then got their own taste of a bagel on the Sunday, beating Black Sheep 2 (due to a forfeit) by the same score line.


Final positions will be coming soon… 

UKU Mixed Tour 1 Preview

Bear Cavalry, Black Eagles, Brighton, Cambridge, Dyn-O-Mixed, mixed tour, Previews, RGS, Shiny Happy Meeples, Thundering Herd, WUCC2014
Matthew “Smatt” Hodgson starts his tSG career off with a quick preview of #ukumt1.

With teams attempting to prepare for the World Club Championships this year, the Tour will feel simultaneously significant and insignificant. Whilst results won’t “matter”, the worlds teams will want to prepare as best they can and notch some wins against the other teams going, and the teams not going to worlds will be eager to cause some upsets. (Note: as far as I’ve seen, the qualification method for EUCF in Frankfurt hasn’t been announced).

Below is an analysis of the top 10 seeded teams for UKU Mixed Tour 1 this weekend in Cardiff. 

Teams going to WUCC
Bear Cavalry: The focus for Bears is worlds. They have retained almost the entire squad from the European Championship winning team, brought in D line contributors, and comfortably handled business at Winter League (not conceding more than 5 points in a game). The Bears are out to win the tour and continue their legacy as a mixed powerhouse on their route to WUCC.

Cambridge: have taken the interesting decision to split their worlds team between O and D lines for Mixed tour 1 (and possibly beyond?). Whilst this will undoubtedly provide plenty of exposure to the highest level of mixed ultimate across the roster, and get more game time and grow connections along the two lines, I see them losing some games on the decision as well. Having said that, with this long to go before WUCC, losses likely won’t provide as much of a sting if the progression is there.


Royal Goaltimate Society: did not enter Nationals or Euros last year due to their players prioritising open and women’s, despite winning tour. You can’t argue with the results of the respective open/women’s clubs results, but it means they have had to re-tool this offseason and therefore have not had as much time to gain team cohesion. The core of RGS this year appears to be Ka-Pow! guys and SYC girls, which are arguably two of the better teams in the Open/Women’s divisions to not be attending worlds, and therefore there will be pockets of team cohesion throughout the team, but it awaits to be seen as to whether they will be fully ready for Mixed Tour 1. Having said this, RGS will be using this as one of the first steps on their road to worlds, and have a strong squad so should come away with plenty of positive results this weekend.

Established mixed clubs
Thundering Herd: The cow print always play the top teams close, and are always training hard and putting in the time to develop as a specialist mixed club. The Herd have selected large squads (53 players between the two teams) which should help given there are some injury concerns, and they have remained committed to their rigorous pre-season training schedule. The herd have been bolstered by plenty of new faces and will be hoping to take more than a few wins this weekend and throughout the season.

Brighton: For the past few years, Brighton have not been able to re-capture the magic of their xEUCF winning team from 2009, whilst still hanging around at the top of the mixed tour. The renewed focus on Open and Women’s has put mixed on the back burner, but Brighton should not be overlooked as they always come with a strong squad, even when understaffed. It remains to be seen whether every Brighton club will be playing the Mexican offence that seems to have taken hold in the city, but regardless, expect Brighton to be unconventional on offence regardless of the formation, and play hard on defence.

Bristol: They have had the potential to really challenge on the mixed circuit for a couple of years now, which has only been helped by the continued development of the women’s club. With a renewed focus on the guys training to keep up with the girls and get back to UKU Nationals, Bristol could put in a serious contention for the top spots. I picked them as underdogs last year when they went into Mixed Tour 1 seeded 13th and by the end of Saturday they were the top seeds, but there won’t be many teams surprised by them this year.

Black Eagles:  After coming up short in their quest to reach Europe last year, falling at the last hurdle at nationals against a DED team they had beaten earlier at the tournament, the Black Eagles may be using the tour to redeem themselves and build towards nationals and Europeans again. If they retain enough of their players from the squad which finished 3rd overall across the tours last year, they can definitely be finals contenders.

Shiny Happy Meeple: This club established last year that they were prepared to play above their perceived potential, and managed to finish in the top 10 over the three tours (maxing out at 8th place at MT3). Whilst they may not be contenders for a top spot, and generally don’t focus on results, they can definitely put pressure on the top teams.

Unknown

Dyn-O-Mixed: Dyn-O-Mite has typically been a bit of a boys club, frequenting Glastonbury and indoors tournaments, and up until now they have fallen short of their potential at these events. Entering a mixed tour is a new realm for this team though and after drafting in some strong female players they start the mixed season with the 8th seed. If their squad is made up of the top level talent that has played with them before, and if their guys and girls have built up enough chemistry they could definitely make some noise.

Great start Smatt and we look forward to more from Smatt and his KaPow teammate Matt Dathan! Make sure to check out the liveBlog feed on the home page!